Special to the Grove Sun
JAY - The Jay mayor was charged Monday after a 9-month investigation showed he inflated mileage reports, misused the city’s credit card and bought a lawnmower for personal use, said Jessica Brown, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman.
Wayne Dunham, 58, is charged in Delaware County District Court in Jay with embezzlement. Teresa A. Smith-Gross, 50, who holds the elected position of city clerk, is charged with accessory after the fact.
Dunham is accused of misappropriating $18,600 from Nov. 1, 2005, to Oct. 31, 2010. Smith-Gross is charged with covering up Dunham’s illegal activities, according to an arrest affidavit filed by OSBI agent Steve Nutter.
Dunham and Smith-Gross do not have listed telephone numbers and could not be reached for comment. Phil Thompson, the city’s attorney, declined to comment. Winston Connor, Dunham’s attorney, said he has not had a chance to review the charge and would comment at a later date.
Dunham, who was a finalist for the 2009 Oklahoma Mayor of the Year award, admitted to filing false mileage reports to the city and being reimbursed for numerous trips he did not take or inflating the number of miles driven, the affidavit states. The cost of the fraudulent mileage reports came to $12,462.07. He also admitted to using the city’s credit card to purchase 62 meals for himself and his family at a cost to the city of $2,345.54, the affidavit states.
The mayor also admitted to buying a Troy-Bilt 50-inch lawnmower for $2,899 with no sales tax collected.
Dunham used the lawnmower at his house and to cut the properties of a Jay bank and the lawns of his family, the affidavit states.
Smith-Gross told Jay police she knew Dunham was involved in illegal activities and lied to auditors and at City Council meetings to cover up for the mayor, the affidavit states. Smith-Gross also confessed to using her position to cover up Dunham’s illegal use of credit cards and submission of false mileage claims.
Authorities were alerted to the missing money after $100 came up missing twice from city utility department deposits, a Jay investigative report states.
Smith-Gross has refiled for her position as city clerk. The election is set for April 5.
Dunham and Smith-Gross are free on $1,000 bail each, the sheriff’s department said.
Rogers County District Attorney Janice Steidley was appointed special prosecutor over the cases.